03/06/2013 MARPOL Convention and Adequate Reception Facilities for Annexes I, IV and V

PERSGA has organized at EMARSGA in Hurghada, Egypt during the period June 3rd to 5th 2013 a Regional Workshop on MARPOL Convention Adequate Reception Facilities for Annexes I, IV  and V. The workshop has been organized in collaboration with the International Maritimes Organization “IMO”. About 20 specialists from six PERSGA countries participated in the workshop. The workshop has been strongly interactive and provided a lush environment for exchange of expertise and openly discussing issues delaying putting the special area status of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into effect.

The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have been designated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to be Special Areas under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships MARPOL. The purpose of a Special Area is the prevention of pollution of the sea in these areas because of their particular sensitivity or other factors. Ships sailing in Special Areas have to observe more strict regulations concerning the discharge of any oil or oily mixture, chemicals, sewage or garbage into the sea. Any refusals of oil, oily mixture, chemicals, sewage or garbage must be retained on board or discharged into reception facilities at port. To this effect countries surrounding special areas are responsible for providing adequate reception facilities.

In the case of the Red Sea the designation of Special Area status was adopted by IMO for both oil (Annex I of MARPOL) and garbage (Annex V of MARPOL) in 1973. The designation of the Gulf of Aden as a Special Area was adopted by IMO in 1989 for oil (Annex I). However, the designation of the RSGA as Special Areas under MARPOL is not yet effective.  This could be attributed to several reasons, but it is important to note that four of the Regional States bordering the RSGA have not become parties to MARPOL Convention yet. States in the region have also not yet been able to advise the IMO that they have established enough suitable reception facilities for ships calling at their ports as required by MARPOL for ports within Special Areas.

In view of the importance to the Region of all States becoming parties to MARPOL, PERSGA has been helping to support this process. In 2005 PERSGA has conducted a fact finding mission on the MARPOL requirements in the region. IMO has helped Sudan in a socioeconomic study concerning MARPOL ratification. PERSGA and IMO have also helped Yemen to identify its position from ratifying the MARPOL Convention. PERSGA with support of IMO has also organized a workshop in 2009 on MARPOL Special Area Status. The Board of ministers in its meeting in March 2010 requested countries and PERSGA to take necessary actions for facilitation of putting the special area status of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into effect. This workshop is another step forward in joint PERSGA and IMO efforts to determine adequate reception facilities needed in the region and develop a practical approach to putting a request to IMO to consider defining a date for putting the Special Area Status of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in effect.
The main objectives of the workshop were to
• refresh participants information on MARPOL Convention and its regular updates
• discuss MARPOL convention regulations of Annexes V and VI in some detail
• identify from national representatives current status of reception facilities in PERSGA countries
• identify from national representatives reception services provided to ships in case of absence of structural reception facilities
•identify from national representatives their countries’ positions towards MARPOL Convention and discuss difficulties preventing some countries ratify the Convention
• discuss and agree on practical steps with identified timelines for putting the special area status of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into effect

The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden